What do drivers want? Carriers need to know to try to battle the current and looming driver shortage as best they can. CCJ sought to find an answer to the question and surveyed drivers in June. This is the first half of CCJ’s findings in the “What do drivers want?” series. Click here to see the second part, which delves more in to the survey responses.
What do drivers want?
It is the defining question in the trucking industry today. With the economy improving and freight demand on the upswing, an already precarious driver supply situation now is reaching critical levels. Every single study done on the future of the U.S. transportation system indicates that this problem only will grow.
Phil Byrd, chairman of the American Trucking Associaotions, says that today it takes about 6 million truck drivers to move freight in the United States. If current hiring trends hold true, best-case predictions by ATA indicate a shortfall of 239,000 drivers by 2025.
|About the survey|
|-Randall-Reilly survey of company drivers and leased owner-operators|
|-Completed June 20, 2014|
|-248 company driver respondents|
|-113 leased owner-operator respondents|
To find out what is making it hard to attract drivers or forcing existing drivers out of the industry, Commercial Carrier Journal decided to ask drivers themselves about the frustrations, desires, dreams and nightmares of working in the trucking industry today. A total of 728 drivers responded, including 248 company drivers and 113 owner-operators.
The majority of company drivers (53.2 percent) reported they worked in over-the-road long-haul jobs. Most log between 75,000 and 100,000 miles a year. The average annual mileage for all respondents was 100,967 miles a year.
Mirroring industry concerns about the age of drivers today and the fact that mass retirements soon will drain an already-depleted employment pool, 38.8 percent of company drivers report they have been driving trucks for more than 20 years.
A panel at the CCJ Fall Symposium in November will delve deep into recruiting and retention tactics. Click here to learn more or to register for the event.
Interestingly, the second-highest percentile, 15.1 percent, says they have been driving from 6 to 10 years. It is logical to assume this group will make up the core of the next generation of experienced drivers – whose thoughts on regulation, pay, safety and technology will define how these new concepts and practices are accepted and implemented in years to come.
Answers to the questions posed by CCJ varied wildly at times. But common themes did emerge that may be helpful to fleets struggling to cope with driver recruitment and retention.
Click below to see some of the highlights from the survey.